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Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Stoltenberg After Bilateral Meeting


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Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Stoltenberg After Bilateral Meeting

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Category: Government

 It is fitting that we meet today, given the events that took place in Libya. 
Obviously this was a NATO mission that was executed I think very effectively. 
Part of the reason it was so effective was because of NATO partners like
Norway.  I’ve said this before but I want to repeat, Norway punches above its
weight.  And their participation in the humanitarian mission, protecting
civilians, the capacity of Norwegian pilots, their willingness to engage in some
very critical missions there, made an enormous difference.

        And so I began the meeting by thanking the people of Norway, the
Norwegian military, and the Prime Minister for their leadership in helping to
give Libya an opportunity to become a democracy.

        The people of Norway and the United States share a lot of bonds. 
Obviously we have an enormous Norwegian-American population here, but we also
share a lot of common values.  And so in our discussions we covered a wide range
of issues.  We discussed our partnership in Afghanistan where Norway has been a
consistent partner, and discussed how we are going to move the transition
forward so that Afghans can take full responsibility for their security by 2014,
as we agreed to in Lisbon. 

        We discussed the world economy, and we shared our intentions to work
closely with our European partners to stabilize the eurozone area, but also to
make sure that we are all participating in creating a system in which free
trade, in which coordinated commercial practices, in which our focus on growing
the economy, issues like energy security all involve close coordination between
our two countries.  And we very much appreciate the partnership there. 

        We discussed the heartbreaking situation that occurred in Norway on
July 22nd.  And as I’ve said before, I think everybody in the United States was
horrified by the events there.  But I complimented the Prime Minister and the
people of Norway for the grace with which they handled this extraordinarily
difficult situation.  It underscored the importance of all of us cooperating in
preventing terrorism of all kinds.  And the United States and Norway have
established a very effective intelligence cooperation system, and that is
continually being enhanced and improved.  And so we both agreed that we’re very
pleased with the progress that we’ve made in making sure that we are working
closely together to prevent the kind of senseless violence that we saw in Norway
so recently, and that we’ve seen around the world over the last several
years.

        And we also discussed a range of international issues of great
importance.  We both share the belief that we need a two-state solution to
Middle East, and want to work very closely with both the Israelis and the
Palestinians to arrive at a negotiated settlement. 

        We discussed the situation in South Sudan, where — and the conflict
between Sudan and South Sudan.  And Norway and the United States have been two
very important partners in a process to move towards a more peaceful resolution
of conflicts there. 

        We discussed how we can work together in the United Nations and other
multilateral fora around issues like climate change and maternal health. 

        And so I think that the state of cooperation and respect between the
United States and Norway has never been higher.  I personally feel a great
affinity for the people of Norway and grateful for the friendship and
partnership that they’ve provided.  And I hope that this is not the last visit
but one of many that we’ll have together here in the United States.  And I hope
I have a chance to visit Norway again sometime soon.

        So, welcome, Mr. Prime Minister.

        PRIME MINISTER STOLTENBERG:  Thank you so much.

        PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you.

        PRIME MINISTER STOLTENBERG:  Thank you.  Thank you so much, Mr.
President, for your kind words.  And also thank you so much for the hospitality
you have shown me and my delegation.  And we are very much impressed about your
political agenda and also by your global leadership you have shown, and which we
appreciate very much in Norway.

        We are also very grateful for the sympathy and the condolences you
and the people of America conveyed to the people of Norway after the terrible
attacks of the 22nd of July.  And I know that it was of great comfort for those
who lost their loved ones.  And as you said, it underlines the importance of
cooperation in fighting all kinds of terrorism.  We will continue to do so, and
we will look into how we can expand our cooperation in fighting terrorism.

        We’ve worked together — or we work together on many different
issues; we cooperate on many different areas.  One of them are within — or is
within the NATO, the military alliance.  And as you mentioned, we have
accomplished what we had as our aim for the military operations in Libya:  We
protected civilians; we were able to stop Qaddafi of killing his own people. 
And I think it shows that we are able to implement decisions by the U.N. and by
the NATO, and that’s important in itself.

        We appreciate the cooperation we have in Afghanistan.  We are looking
forward to focusing even more on the transition.  Norway went into Afghanistan
together with our allies, and are going to leave Afghanistan together with our
allies.

        I appreciate also very much that we had the opportunity to focus on
the High North.  The High North is a area where we are seeing new possibilities,
new challenges, but also new dangers.  And the ice is melting.  Actually, in the
High North we see the consequences of global warming.  But at the same time,
that opens up new possibilities for energy developments, but also for sea
routes, and it increases the need for cooperation between the countries
bordering the Arctic area, and the U.S. and Norway are among them.

        I appreciate that we can continue our cooperation when it comes to
climate change, because we’ve worked together on halting deforestation, reducing
deforestation.  And that’s the way we can achieve the biggest, the cheapest and
the fastest reductions in emissions.  We work together in Indonesia in reducing
deforestation.

        And I appreciate very much that we work together on child mortality,
maternal health, and that’s an area where we have achieved a lot together during
the last years. 

        So I appreciate very much this opportunity to meet with you, and you
are always welcome to Norway and Oslo.  Thank you.

        PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you very much.  Thank you, everybody.

        Q    Mr. President, does the Libya — the death of Qaddafi vindicate
your policy in Libya?

        PRESIDENT OBAMA:  We did exactly what we said we were going to do in
Libya.  And I think it underscores the capacity of us to work together as an
international community.  The United States obviously has unique capacities, and
we were proud of the leadership we showed in that process.  But, increasingly,
wherever we have the possibility of working with outstanding partners like
Norway, then I think that we’re going to be even more effective.  And the United
States will always preserve its right and duty to protect ourselves, our allies
and our interests. 

        But I think what this shows is that, on a whole range of
international issues, there is enormous capacity — and we are able to leverage
greater resources, more effectiveness, at lower cost — when we’re able to work
together.  So I’m very proud of the work that we did on this operation. 

        Most importantly I’m proud of what the Libyan people have achieved. 
And I think they’ve got an enormous opportunity ahead of them.  They’ve got a
lot of challenges as well, but we have now given them the opportunity to
determine their own destiny.  And that’s something that we’ve seen across North
Africa and the Arab world — that there’s nothing unique in aspiring to freedom
and human rights and democracy.  This is something that all people want to
enjoy, and I’m very pleased that the Libyan people are going to have the
opportunity to do so.  All right?

        Thank you very much, everybody.

        Q    Thank you.

        PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you.

Source: The White House

Published: September 17, 2019